In Netflix’s crime show ‘Fool Me Once,’ the Burketts, protagonist Maya Stern’s husband’s family, carries many secrets, rendering their past and present a web of mysteries. As such, Maya’s investigation into her husband, Joe’s death, following his intriguing resurfacing on their daughter’s Nanny Cam, leads her to unearth several buried secrets. Andrew Burkett, Joe’s long-dead brother whose grave remains a haunting fixture in the Burkett’s estate, is one such secret. Therefore, the deeper that Maya delves into Joe’s past and its possible connection with her sister Claire’s recent death, the more she learns about Andrew, whose mysterious passing seems to be the center puzzle piece. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Andrew Burkett And His Mysterious Death
Although Andrew Burkett is subtly introduced into the narrative early in the show, his character remains steeped in secrecy. Andrew was an heir to the Burkett name, as one of the eldest sons alongside Joe. As such, his untimely death as a teenager left a mark on the family that each member continues to carry. While a premature death is unusual but doesn’t necessarily invite curiosity, the Burketts’ tight-lipped nature around the incident sure does.
Although the Burketts claim Andrew died in a freak accident on a yacht, wherein he accidentally fell from the vessel into the water, Joe revealed to Maya that his brother actually committed suicide. However, a much more sinister truth comes out in the open once Maya begins looking into her husband’s past.
Andrew died in 1996, a few months after the death of his classmate and best friend, Theo Mora. On paper, Theo’s death was a result of alcohol poisoning. The school, Franklin Biddle, found the boy’s body on campus and pinned it on his reckless underage drinking. Since Theo’s football team won a significant game the previous day, his death could easily be defined as a celebration gone wrong. However, Theo’s mother, who had been weary of sending her son to the private school, always remained suspicious since she knew her son wasn’t one for drinking.
While the cops never investigated Theo’s death, Maya delves into it after learning that her sister Claire was snooping around the same just a day before her murder. The answers Maya finds reveal startling truths about Theo as well as Andrew and Joe.
Unlike the other kids at Franklin, Theo was a scholarship student from a different financial background than his peers. Still, he fits in with the others, garnering attention for his football skills. As a result, he became an object of Joe’s envy. Joe felt threatened by Theo’s position and schemed a deadly plan. Joe convinced his friends to go along with his scheme under the guise of a hazing ritual, a common occurrence at Franklin.
The plan was to kidnap Theo from his dorms and take him out to the ruins, where the boys would tie him to a chair and feed him alcohol while dressed in scary masks. The idea was supposed to be a playful ritual that would scare Theo before he catches onto them, leading into a night of drinking and revelry. However, Joe used to plan to enact his immoral ideas.
Instead of treating the ritual as a joke, Joe tied Theo to a chair without affording him any leeway for escape and poured alcohol down his throat until he choked and died. Afterward, he convinced his friends that they had no choice but to cover up Theo’s death to escape the consequences. Nevertheless, their actions plagued Andrew, Theo’s closest friend.
Andrew’s demeanor changed after Theo’s death, with his conscience wracked under the guilt of his actions and the subsequent lies. A few months later, Joe and his friends, the same ones present on the night of Theo’s death, went out on a yacht over the holidays. During the same, Andrew expressed his desire to come out with the truth about Theo’s death and face punishment for his actions to clear his conscience.
Andrew’s sudden morality didn’t sit well with Joe, who would have to suffer the consequences alongside his brother. Furthermore, if the truth comes out, it will forever tarnish the Burkett name. Therefore, Joe brushed his brother off in the moment. Later at night, he pushed Andrew off the yacht. Just as Joe wasn’t about to allow Theo to come in the way of his social and scholarly success at Franklin, he refused to let his brother come in the way of his future.
After Andrew’s death, the Burketts began bribing the yacht’s owner, Tommy Dark, to ensure Joe’s secret remains well-kept. Joe also moved on with his life. Yet, the burden of his actions toward his own blood likely weighed down on him. Perhaps for the same reason, Joe lies to Maya about Andrew’s suicide to make himself believe that he can’t be blamed for Andrew’s death.
Nevertheless, the people on that yacht, namely one Christopher Swain, Joe’s classmate who was forced to be an accomplice for Theo’s murder, knew the truth. Even under the night’s cover, the boy was able to catch a glimpse of Joe pushing Andrew off the deck. Although Christopher keeps quiet for years, he finally reveals the truth to Maya after learning about Joe’s death. Thus, the reality about Andrew’s death— falsified as an accident and later suicide, reveals itself to the world in the end.